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Wayne Albee

Wayne Albee

American, 1882 - 1937

In 1882, Wayne Clinton Albee was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and six years later moved with his parents to Tacoma, Washington. After practicing photography as a hobby, he became serious about portrait work when he was sixteen and working in a photographic supply store.

Albee was a professional by 1902, joined the Photographers’ Association of the Pacific Northwest, and began winning awards with his pictures. In 1911, he relocated his Tacoma studio and renamed it Ye Likeness Shop. A few years later, he took both second and sixth places in a national competition sponsored by Camera Craft for photographs of America’s loveliest women. In 1917, Albee moved to Seattle, where he briefly operated a studio before going into business with Ella McBride. At her studio he made many accomplished images of famous modern dancers who visited Seattle, such as Anna Pavlova and Ruth St. Dennis. One of these images was reproduced in the August 1923 issue of British Vogue. In 1928, he moved to La Jolla, California, where he established a studio that made "Portraits with Personality" and "Pictorial Photographs with Originality" (according to one of his advertisements).

Albee was highly regarded by pictorialists as both a practitioner and a judge. He served as chairman of Seattle’s Frederick and Nelson department store salons from 1920 to 1925. In 1931, he was on the jury of the San Diego photographic salon.

His pictures were seen in salons and publications primarily during the 1920s. He presented a solo show at the Seattle Fine Arts Society in 1922. Salons that accepted his work included those in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. Reproductions of his work appeared in Pictorial Photography in America 1922 (published by the Pictorial Photographers of America) and the American Annual of Photography in 1927 and 1931. The monthly American Photography also ran images by him in 1921 and 1922. The February 1929 issue of Camera Craft featured a ten-page profile on Albee. His imagery comprises primarily portraits and figure studies, sometimes rendered with a texture screen.

Albee died in his sleep in San Diego on December 1, 1937. Two days later the California tastemaker Sigismund Blumann eulogized him in an obituary for the San Diego Union.

Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)

This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.